417 Working Holiday Visa Holders on the Harvest Trail

Cristobal Barriga and Valentina Vargas Guzman have picked fruit up and down the east coast of Australia


COVID-19 has not deterred 417 Working Holiday visa holders Cristobal Barriga and Valentina Vargas Guzman who are fruit picking and following the Harvest Trail around Australia.

Their Working Holiday visa allows them to travel, study and work around Australia for up to a year.

The couple arrived in February 2020 from Chile and started their fruit picking journey with Costa Berries in Corindi.

They have stayed with the company and worked for Costa along the Harvest Trail as far south as Tasmania and as far north as the Atherton Tablelands in Queensland.

Cristobal said following the Harvest Trail has allowed them to go around Australia and save money.

“Picking fruit is good for travelling, it’s more than enough money,” he said.

Valentina said you meet a lot of people working on the farms and experience a lot of different cultures.

“You can talk with people and hear a lot of interesting stories while you are picking.

“That’s my favourite thing,” she told News Of The Area.

“It’s hard work, but it’s good working in nature.

“Usually the Costa farms are next to a beach or a forest.

“I like that more than the city, it’s a different kind of job,” she said.

“You are part of a crew and that makes a difference, I like that.”

Cristobal said it could take a week or so to get used to the work.

“After a week you feel like you are doing it right.

“People sometimes give up because they think it’s too hard, but they don’t try enough or give it enough time.

“If you try for a week or maybe two weeks you get into the rhythm,” he said.

“At the beginning we were picking just for the extension of our visa, but now we are doing it because we can travel around Australia to different places and we can work at the same time.”

It’s a good option for the couple, and Cristobal appreciates being able to work for a large production horticulture company.

“The advantage of Costa is that there are farms everywhere.

“There are also different fruits, so you can pick whatever you want, and if you don’t like picking, there are other options like packing.”


By Sandra MOON

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